I’ve always been of the opinion that cricket is very similar to war.
Having not done a huge amount of either one, I’m probably not best placed to comment but it always seemed to me that with both you’re either incredibly, terribly bored or absolutely shitting yourself because something fast and heavy is likely to hit your head any second.
Sitting and eating lunch with my wife just now, I realised that expecting your second baby is very similar. Not the heavy thing hitting your head – that would indeed be a remarkable labour – but the boredom. I’m actually pretty bored with the whole thinking and talking about pregnancy thing now (says the half of the relationship who doesn’t actually have to do anything – but she says so too…) but also terrified that it’s going to be a huge amount of worry all over again. Frankly, I’m scared of Going Over The Top. Or Batting. Or something.
Don’t get me wrong. Hidden behind both fear and boredom is a huge dollop of excitement. So fear ye not, #2 child, when you dig out this “blog” thing from the “internet” (whatever that was) and find that your father once wrote about your imminent arrival – I’m already in love with you, and looking forward very much to meeting you. It’s just that, well, doing it for the second time you have the HUGE advantage of knowing what’s coming up. But also the HUGE disadvantage of knowing what’s coming up. If you see what I mean.
With my lovely boy, Dan, who is now 2.5 (“nearly 3, daddy”, or so he keeps telling me), things seemed hard. Exzma (ezxma/exma/ecszma/whatever – still after 3 years I can’t bloody spell it), a long labour, depression, all compacted by not having a fookin clue about anything – all made for an interesting ride. I mean, the fear you feel not knowing when the end of the tunnel is coming – in fact, the complete lack of any understanding at all about the tunnel, the train, the journey or even what day you set off – is insanely intense. It’s no wonder you get to about month 3 – I did, anyway – and think “Fuck. This is it. The end of my life. No more going out, ever. No more friends. No more holidays. Just shit, puke, crying, broken nights. From here on up, until the end of eternity.”
Thinking about it, I had a moment much earlier on, minutes after Dan was born. I’d just wandered over to have a look at my beautiful new baby, a minute staring lovingly into his face. And what did he do? Stopped breathing and turned blue. Probably the shock of seeing me. But at that moment, I had a flash of “I will never, ever be able to stop worrying, ever again”. And then, a few days later at 4 in the morning with him in his Moses basket snoring/rumbling/spluttering like a sailor after a 60 Senior Service evening, I imagined the bad comedy camera shot starting on my face and then zooming out to show both me and Rach staring upwards, fear in our eyes, each pretending to the other that it was all ok.
In the end, of course, it is so much more than ok. Mine is a world surrounded and immersed in my first child, and shortly to be surrounded and immersed in my second. We have a lovely life – and a beautiful, funny, clever little boy. Now, of course, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The secret is that babies, to be honest, aren’t actually terribly interesting, are they? They are, however, the means to about the best end you could hope for.